In part one we talked about the merits of games that have no ads or in app purchases.
In part 2 we’ll dive into some of the deeper cuts, and mention a few games that deserve to be included, even if they technically feature IAPs.
1 – Little Inferno
This is a game where you burn stuff. Yup, that’s just about it. The stunning yet smoothly rendered particle effects and wide array of objects and behaviors turn a simple diversion into a game with multiple hours of gameplay.
This game comes from the same studio that made the indie favorite World of Goo. It should come as no surprise if you’ve played Goo that Little Inferno features a subtle and somewhat poignant story beneath it’s straightforward gameplay.
2 – Downwell
Another indie darling, Downwell is a game where you’re constantly progressing downward while shooting various enemies. You can only shoot down, and the gunplay feels similar Cave Story in that it slows your descent and makes you hover around.
Although the graphics look like only a small step up from a Gameboy, the gameplay and sprite-work is silky smooth, and the simple controls lend themselves well to a touchscreen.
3 – McPixel
Equal parts point-and-click adventure game, WarioWare, and MacGyver spoof, this game is weird to say the least. It’s also one of the most hilarious games that I’ve played in years.
Don’t miss this ADHD fever-dream.
4 – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
I wanted to feature at least one VR game, and K.T.A.N.E. is my favorite mobile VR game by far. Diffuse a bomb while players on the “outside” give you instructions from a bomb defusal guide. An excellent party game, half the fun comes from figuring out the game and communicating with your teammates.
This game only works on the Daydream View and the Gear VR, sorry Cardboard users.
Honorable mention 1 – Monument Valley
We already talked about Monument Valley 2 in part one, but MV1 is just as innovative and fun as the original.
Monument Valley 1 technically offers one in app purchase, but it’s more like an expansion pack where you pay a nominal amount one time to unlock a new series of levels. This expansion was released months after the game came out so it’s not day-one-DLC by any means.
Honorable mention 2 – Super Mario Run
Nintendo’s first foray into mobile gaming is a stripped down version of the franchise that we’ve known and loved for years. The free basically functions as a demo version of the game while a single one-time IAP unlocks the full experience.
Since Super Mario Run has only a single, one-time-only IAP, I can Nintendo a pass. Now Fire Emblem Heroes on the other hand…
Honorable mention 3 – Organ Trail
Oregon Trail, but set in the zombie apocalypse? Why has nobody thought of this sooner?
Similar to Monument Valley, Organ Trail has a single IAP which unlocks an expansion that was created long after the game’s original release. It would have been nice to get this additional content for free, but I guess indie developers need to make a living too, so I’m cool with it.
Honorable mention 4 – Stranger Things
This game was released as a tie-in promo for the second season of the excellent Netflix series of the same name. The 16 bit style graphics look great, and the game features a surprising amount of content.
While there are no IAPs to speak of in Stranger Things, you could technically consider the game itself to be an ad for Netflix, so I’m including it here as an honorable mention.
Honorable mention 5 – Smash Hit
Another game where the premise is simple (through balls, and smash things). The flawless execution including great physics and sound design makes it feel so good though.
Like Super Mario Run, the initial download is free, and a single purchase unlocks the entire experience without ever nagging you to spend again. If you’ve gotta do IAPs this is the way to do it.